What is a Pap Smear Test?
Pap Smear test is used to detect the premalignant and malignant cells in the cervix. This test also finds out if any infection or inflammation is developing in the cervix. Cervix is located at the top of the vagina and forms the bottom part of the uterus. As the cervical canal goes through the cervix, it helps menstrual blood and also the fetus to pass from the uterus into the vagina.
Pap Smear is a screening process in women’s healthcare where a speculum is used to dilate the vaginal canal for analyzing the cervix. Cell samples are collected from the cervix for further testing.
Read on to find out why Pap Smear is an important test for women.
It Helps in the Early Detection of the Second Prevalent Form of Cancer in India - Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer affects the cells of the cervix and the main cause of cervical cancer is the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), often transmitted through sexual intercourse. Early detection means finding out about the changes that are still at a cellular level. Catching it at a precancerous stage where the probability of it developing into a cancer is high is essential for treatment. Cervical cancer has a high death rate even when it can be prevented/treated. Pap Smear is the key to prevention and also saving lives.
About 6% out of 5000 women who took a health checkup at Indus Health Plus between 2020 and 2021 had borderline results. Because of the Pap Smear test result, they were able to avail proper care to stop the development of the disease.
It Helps in Identifying Risk Factors at Early Stage Where Possible Curative Treatments Could Be Planned
Daily lifestyle habits are the risk factors for cervical cancer and many other diseases. Existing conditions like HIV/AIDS, certain STDs, weak immune system, and/or smoking contribute to the development of the cancer. Apart from this, having many sex-partners, unprotected sex, and a medical or family history of cervical cancer also increases your risk of developing it. Such risk factors are identified by the gynecologist during health checkups, and they can advise about how often the Pap Smear test is required. In case of normal results, Pap Smear should be repeated once every 3 years.
In a recent study at Indus Health Plus, 17% of 5000 women were suggested further consultation. Out of 17%, about 1% required urgent management through planned and regular health checkups for detection of cervical cancer at an early stage.
It Can Help in Lowering the Prevalence of Cervical Cancer in India and Saving Lives
Women, from the age 15 years and above are at the risk of developing cervical cancer. However, the awareness about it is limited. Cervical cancer can be prevented with HPV vaccination, and regular Pap Smear tests - it can also be treated successfully if it is diagnosed at an early or precancerous stage. According to some studies, each year more than 1 lakh women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 77 thousand die from it. Pap Smear is a powerful tool in saving lives that are lost due to low awareness and education. How awareness can help in the prevention of cervical cancer.
It Also Prevents Out of Pocket Medical Expenditure and Mental Trauma for the Person and the Family
Pap Smear is useful for diagnosing the abnormalities in the cervix early, thereby improving the chances of getting cured. The management and treatment for the developing condition can be started at the right time before it progresses to an advanced stage where treatments become difficult and complicated. At advanced stages of cancer, treatment becomes expensive and life saving becomes difficult. Not only does it drain out the resources, it also causes trauma to the whole family.
It Can Give You Longevity and a Better Quality of Life
A Pap Smear test can provide crucial information and help the doctor understand the changes happening in their cervix. This knowledge helps them make the right decisions about taking corrective actions at the right time. Which inturn can put you at ease during the treatment, and lets you regain your health quickly through lifestyle modifications.
Tips for Preventing Cervical Cancer:
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